The local sharemarket has slumped to a two year low and the New Zealand dollar fallen on reports of Russian military action in Ukraine.
The benchmark NZX-50 index has closed down 402 points or 3.3 percent, the biggest one-day fall since March 2020.
All leading stocks fell between 4 and 6 percent, with only a handful of mostly small stocks posting a rise.
Sharemarkets in Australia and Asia also slumped around 3 percent.
The rout on financial markets was evident in currencies also with the New Zealand dollar and other so-called commodity currencies such as the Australian dollar falling against safe haven currencies including the Japanese yen and US dollar.
"The markets figure Russia will now do what ever it wants given how weak the sanctions were, and are pricing in an invasion," Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank said.
Brent crude oil jumped more than 3.5 percent to shoot past US$100 a barrel for the first time since September 2014, while gold surged more than 1.7 percent to its highest level since early January 2021.
Attrill said the fear was that Europe would lose supplies Russian gas, which it depends upon, and that could affect global growth.
"Higher energy prices are also where the rubber hits the road as far as global economic growth is concerned, that's got to be bad for risk sentiment."